Chuba Akpom double deny Sheffield United all three points against Middlesbrough – Sporting Life

Chuba Akpom spared his team-mate Ryan Giles a blush as his brace gave Middlesbrough a 2-2 draw with Sheffield United at the Riverside.

The Blades appeared to be heading for all three points when Giles put the ball into his own net midway through the second half, but after scoring with a close-range finish early in the first half, Akpom struck again with eight minutes to go and headed in a header Goalkeeper Wes Foderingham passing.

Sheffield United beat Boro at Bramall Lane towards the end of last season and couldn’t have asked for a better start on Sunday. Only three minutes had passed when the visitors scored the first goal. Sander Berge turned away from Riley McGree before drilling a low finish over keeper Zack Steffen into the bottom corner.

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It took Boro a few minutes to regroup after conceding so early, but to their credit the hosts hit back just 11 minutes later. While Berge’s goal was a beautiful individual effort, the equalizer came through a wonderful team movement that involved Anfernee Dijksteel and Paddy McNair both to send Isaiah Jones towards the touchline.

The full-back played a low ball across the box and the recalled Akpom was left with an easy task of shooting home. Akpom came close again midway through the first half, controlling McNair’s pass on his chest before spinning and shooting over and Marcus Forss threatened a goal before the break which was saved by Foderingham.

John Egan had the ball in the net at the other end before the break but his header shot from an Oliver Norwood free-kick was ruled out for offside. Blades boss Paul Heckingbottom brought Rhian Brewster into play at the break and the substitute had an almost immediate impact, rounding Steffen only to clear a backtracked Marc Bola.

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The visitors were the dominant force early in the second period and the Boro keeper was called on again just before the hour mark to smash a header away from Brewster. However, when Sheffield United regained the lead in the 68th minute, there was nothing Steffen could do about it, with Boro the architects of their own downfall.

Giles had no one around when Iliman Ndiaye played a low cross but when he tried to clear the full-back only managed to slice the ball terribly into his own net. Giles was involved again as Boro equalized for the second time with eight minutes remaining.

He crossed and after Darragh Lenihan deflected a header onto goal, Akpom looked home. Boro nearly got the win in the closing seconds but after Giles delivered a low cross Duncan Watmore stabbed the foot of a post for the first time.

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